The Far Reaches of Paranormal

Smitten ImageBy Pam B. Morris, author of Smitten Image

Writing paranormal is just like reading paranormal. The essence boils down quite simply … where do you want to live? Ever since I read Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island back in seventh grade, I have preferred diving into other worlds inhabited by the exotic and bizarre, whether they be creature, human or a mix of both. There’s a mystifying titillation of extraordinary danger and adventure in a story where, quite literally, anything can happen.

My father subscribed to Analog, a science fiction magazine chockfull of voyages and battles amongst the stars, interactions with alien races and strange experiments in secret laboratories. I couldn’t wait for him to finish each issue and pass it on to me. Growing up, our family didn’t have television except for the year we lived in Minnesota, my first year of sixth grade (yes, I was a repeater). Star Trek aired on Wednesday nights and guess who had violin lessons Wednesday night? Needless to say, I grew to hate violin lessons…

And then I started writing my own adventures with Captain Kirk and his crew on the Enterprise. (I was Chief Science Officer, not Spock.) But having discovered a vast new frontier, reading soon replaced writing as I gobbled down Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. They gave me that endorphin high that chocolate does now. Then I ventured to Middle Earth and a whole new set of wondrous worlds lay at my fingertips.

Paranormal is a word I call “umbrella slang.” Try looking “paranormal” up in Webster’s. Yep, not there. And yet its parameters embody the immensity of the inexplicable, the unseen, the unquantifiable. Science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, and horror all blend together in a realm of pure creation where boundaries don’t exist. Writing paranormal romance allows me to invent mind-boggling worlds full of characters with limitless potential and a craving for love.

In a way, writing paranormal is like dreaming. The process may be somewhat in your control, but the content grows out of that part of your mind just beyond conscious reach. I adored Joseph Campbell, a giant among thinkers who wrote, along with other brilliant books, The Power of Myth and The Hero’s Journey. He studied mythology and a societies need to invent stories to help translate the mysteries of our human condition. As artists, we writers do the same.

Ideas are born, like myths and dreams, from experiences filtered through our subconscious, the right brain and the far reaches of imagination. Writing in the genre of paranormal lets my creative imagination invent, experiment and find illogical idiosyncrasies in human nature to expand and exploit. Throw in romance and in essence, it becomes the essence of “living large”!

11 thoughts on “The Far Reaches of Paranormal

  1. PM Kavanaugh

    Hi Pam,
    Great post! I, too, love reading about “other worlds.” My debut book, Die Run Hide, from Crimson takes place 50 years in the future. I had tons of fun (and challenges) imagining what would be the same 50 years from now and what would be different. Sometimes, it could get a little bit paralyzing. Like, would people still be wearing T-shirts in 50 years? Drinking coffee? I knew, for certain, people would still be fighting the bad guys & falling in love! (The essence of my story.) I also really loved Star Trek as a kid and had a whole other life taking place in my mind about my experiences on the starship, Enterprise. Sure made boring classes at school go a lot faster as part of my mind took in the textbook info and the other part spun tales on distant planets.

    1. Pam B Morris

      Hi PM, and thanks. Yes, the future is an amazing thought just hanging out there ready to spin into whatever our imagination feels like. And yeah, I too, spent boring class time wandering the far reaches. Best of luck living large in your imagination and congratulations on signing with Crimson. It’s a great group!

  2. Erin Richards

    Hi Pam. Great article! Science fiction, fantasy, paranornal are all my favorites escapes to write in and read. As a writer of the paranormal also, I love that anything can happen to the extent of our own imagination. Smitten Image is a wonderful example of paranormal creativity and sizzling romance! I grew up watching Star Trek also and loved all the SF shows that followed in its wake, which have influenced the genres I write in.

  3. Pam B Morris

    Hey, Erin, thanks! I never learned to speak Klingon, though I remember wanting too! Isn’t it great that some of us just can’t help ourselves? It’s like where our spirit guides us or where the cards just fall for us nerdy types. I want to do a Comi-con convention just once in my life. I know I’d be agog the whole time!

  4. Rionna Morgan


    I love paranormal. I love it because of you. I would have never picked up a Jules Verne book without you say I should. I would have never directed THE HOBBIT if it wasn’t for you. You opened my eyes to a world beyond my own, and I have fallen in love with it. Smitten Image is a wonderful story set in a land so familiar, yet so far from reality. Your Lily is beautiful and strong and so very human. Thank you for showing me what I didn’t know I NEEDED.

  5. Betty

    Beautifully written post, Pam! I love paranormal for the same reasons you mentioned. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy at least twice, love Bradbury and Ann McCaffery’s Dragons of Pern series, and was a Trekkie too. What I loved about Smitten Image was how tantalizingly close to reality it was yet wonderfully imaginative. I love how you delicately wove the two together.

  6. Deborah O'Neill Cordes

    Tolkien, all things Star Trek (Next Generation is the best!), Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. I am amazed and delighted we have so many shared loves! Congrats on Smitten Image, Pam. It is a wonderful novel and I wish you much success!

  7. jw ashley

    hmmm… “the essence of ‘living large’.” I like that. It gives me a lot to ponder. That phrase is so full of meaning. I agree that writing or reading about paranormal worlds–places where anything can happen–and adding romance allows one to extend life beyond everyday expectations. When I set out to write my paranormal story Into The Woods, my goal was to take the genre’s tropes beyond expectations, to extend the motifs as far as they would go: and that was the creative birth of Libby, Caleb, and the Great War.